How Barrel-Aged and Sour Beers Make You End Up In Your PJs in the Street on a Saturday Night (A Review of Florida Brewers Guild Barrel-Aged & Sour Beer Fest and Gainesville Roller Rebels Pub Crawl)


So last Friday (November 13th) our group of Craft Beer enthusiasts decided to gather together at the BrassTap on Archer Road for our regular Friday Happy Hour. The Maestro and the Doctor both made it there first. They talked Allen (the owner) into taunting me with a picture of a beer (see below), saying “Here’s looking at you.” Now I was already on my way and didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t reply. By the time I arrived they had started to head for the patio and claim a table outside. Not long after me Rowdy showed up and our Philosophying began for the evening.


My first craft beer that night was a Dunkles Hefe Weizen from Tucher Brau. It was a very good example of a Dunkel with a nice roasted malt flavor and a smooth aftertaste.


Allen pulled up a chair and joined us and not long after the Deck-Orator arrived as well. So we put another table alongside ours so discussion was not hindered by any inter-table distances. We began catching up with each other and finding out what was new.


My second draft of the evening was a Hop Nosh IPA from Uinta Brewing. The IPA lovers in the group thought this was pretty good and while I thought it was okay with a nice smooth aftertaste it was a little hoppier than I care for.


My third choice of drafts was the Jefferson Stout from Lazy Magnolia Brewing. It was supposedly going to have a little sweet potato flavor but I couldn’t taste any. I did taste a light stout flavor but that was all.


As we were working on our last round I mentioned that I was going to Florida Brewer’s Guild Barrel-Aged & Sour Beer Festival the next day and asked if anyone wanted to go with me. Rowdy said she would go but I had to agree to go to the PJ Pub crawl for the Gainesville Roller Rebels.


I agreed, though I was reluctant to do so because the idea of wearing PJs in public bothers me. But I agreed at any rate and said I would text her in the morning and let her know where we would meet up for the trip. Everyone else in the group had other plans.

So I met up with Rowdy at Hogan’s Heroes Sandwich Shop on NW 13th Street and found her paying attention to the most well-behaved dog I have ever seen in the back of a strange pick-up truck. This little guy was not chained or leashed and would not leave the bed of the truck, but he was happy to be getting the attention that Rowdy was giving him. And as we turned to go inside he stayed right where he was and ducked back down under the truck side to stay out of the sun.

We wandered inside the sandwich shop and walked back to the bar to order our sandwiches. If you have never been to either of Hogan’s Heroes locations then you owe it to yourself to do so. In my opinion, they have the best subs in Gainesville. Both of them have a sandwich shop in the front half of their respective buildings and a little bar at the back end. The décor is World War II related and being a Veteran feels nice to me. During the work week if I come in for lunch I never make it to the back, but after work or on the weekends nothing goes better with one of their sandwiches than a nice cold draft. Most of the draft beer selections are the normal American Lager variety, but they do have one or two local brewery fares along with Newcastle Brown and Guiness on tap as well as some European brews in bottles.


Rowdy and I each ordered a sandwich combo which included an 8 inch sub, choice of chips and a drink. We both ordered the same sandwich but she had a cider with hers and I ordered a Stump Knocker from Swamp Head with mine. It wasn’t long before our orders arrived and we enjoyed a nice little lunch before heading out to Jacksonville.

When we left I followed Rowdy back to her place and she retrieved her traveling accoutrement, jumped in my truck and we headed out to Jax. I decided to avoid the traffic associated with driving from Gainesville to Jax by the normal route of going through Starke and instead headed up 121/231 through Hidden Lake, Brooker, Lake Butler and Raiford until we reached I-10 and then headed east into Jax. It was a lot less traffic and much more scenic. We listened to the gator game as it was playing while we drove.

When we got into Jax I knew I had not been to Intuition Ale Works before and wondered what kind of area it was in as parts of Jax aren’t too bad and are in fact really nice and others you start looking for the fastest way to the interstate. As we left the interstate it started to look like we weren’t necessarily in the best part of town. Like most new craft breweries starting out, Intuition started their location in an industrial section of town in an older warehouse. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but sometimes these areas are surrounded by not so prosperous housing. As we headed down King Street we came upon a set of railroad tracks and literally, on the opposite (notice I didn’t say “wrong”) of the tracks was the warehouse where intuition is located. Right after you crossed the tracks they had the road closed off with a vendor truck and you could see a crowd back behind it.

image image

I turned left there and found a parking spot not too far away where it looked like other attendees were parking as well. Then Rowdy and I grabbed our beer sampling gear and headed out. We went to the check in and received our sampling glass and the list of breweries and their available wares (see pics below)

image image

Then we walked around and began sampling and talking with the various vendors on site. below are some pics from the event.

image image image image image image

image image image image

I can tell you that there were a lot of great barrel aged beers there. And I was really surprised at how good the sour beers were. Most of the sours beers I have had up until that event were so sour that you really couldn’t taste any other flavors. That was not true with most of these.

The following is a small sampling of those that really stood out to me:

Darwin Brewing Co., Bourbon-barrel-aged big Deal; Due South Brewing, Barrel Aged Mariana Trench; Engine 15 Brewing Co., Barrel Aged Simcoe; Funky Buddha Brewing, Cabernet Barrel Aged Nikolai Vorlauf; Intuition Ale Works, Tres Brujas; Orchid Island Brewery, Citron – Cabernet Barrel Aged Saison; Proof Brewing Co., Fruit Punch Blind Fate – Berliner Weisse; Tampa Bay Brewing Moose Wood – Barrel Aged Barleywine & Capt. Skully – Rum barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale; Tomoka Brewing Mint Julip Southern Sour; Zeta Brewing, Cabernet Michaelmas and their Bourbon Michaelmas; an what I consider the two best examples at the fest, both from Wynwood Brewing, NSDLA – Barrel Aged Barleywine and BA 100 Barrel Aged American Strong Ale.

Please keep in mind that as we sampled more we were probably being a bit more lenient but the beers kept tasting better and better.

We decided to get some food before we left and stopped at the FunkaDelic Food Truck. Rowdy got a fish sandwich and I got a burger and we split an order of fried beets. The sandwiches were good but I have to say I have never enjoyed beets so much in my life as I did the ones they served.

image image

We started our trek back to Gainesville around 5:30 and got back around 7:00.

After I dropped Rowdy off I headed back to the house to check on Tucker, my dog, and rest up a bit before heading out to meet her and the Doctor downtown for the PJ Pub Crawl. To be honest, after I took Tucker for a walk, I settled down in the recliner and he jumped up and snuggled with me. It was enough for me to fall asleep for a bit. Rowdy’s text telling me where to meet her and the Doctor is what woke me up.

So I jumped up, took off my clothes and put on my PJ’s and a robe (it was chilly out) and headed for downtown. Now the previous year’s Pub Crawl had a Lumberjack theme which I can slide into very easily. I’m a middle-aged white guy with a beard, work boots and jeans and all the plaid shirts I could want. I even own a couple of axes so Lumberjack is an easy theme for me to do. But PJs in public is not my cup-o-tea. So along with the t-shirt and PJ bottoms I wore my silk Kimono, going for the Hugh Hefner look. I actually got more than a few complements on it.

11988649_10205329335973930_6799087275979503897_n 12243380_10205329336053932_5895038781474653678_n

The pub crawl started at the Midnight on Main Street at 8:00 and we got there around 8:30. The Pub Crawl hits five downtown bars, with 45 minutes at each bar and one complimentary draft beer at each. So we got at the Midnight with enough time to check in with the group and finish a beer. As I recall we had three to choose from and I ordered the Shock Top Belgian White.


Our next stop was Tall Paul’s Brew House just up around the corner on 2nd Avenue. I had a little disagreement with a bouncer about whether or not I had to pay a cover charge to get in. I ended the disagreement by saying “Dude, I’m with the pub crawl! Look at the way I’m dressed! Would I put this crap on to go out on the town??!!” Luckily, he saw my point and we didn’t have to get any deeper into the disagreement. Unfortunately, the beer they selected for us at Tall Paul’s was the Narraganset Lager, or as Rowdy likes to call it, Nasty Ganset. I don’t know who chooses the beer for these things, but that one just has to go. And if you’re a Narragnaset fan good for you, but leave that in Boston where it belongs.


From Tall Paul’s we meandered over to Loosey’s where they were also having Karaoke. A couple of the roller derby gals and one of our gents tagging along sang a couple of renditions. At least here they served a decent draft beer in the form of a Yuengling Lager. Of course that is just my opinion. And being a PA boy it is only natural for me to like that beer.



The next stop on our tour was one of our old standbys, Gainesville House of Beer. HOB is also one of the gathering places for after the derby matches and one of the Meetup groups I belong to meets there after their monthly meeting as well. Not to mention our occasional treks to there (See last blog about Homecoming). I knew HOB would have a good beer available for the group. Especially since Rowdy had already discussed the beer list with Alex, the manager. I had a stout from local brewery First Magnitude, I believe it was the Drift but I’m not certain.

The next and last stop of the crawl was supposed to be the High Dive, which is where we ended up last year and a lot of dancing took place. But I looked at Rowdy and said, “I think I’m done.” She looked at me and nodded her head and I knew she was done too. With the all the beers we sampled earlier and the last few on top there was definitely no dancing in my future. The Doctor said, “See… That’s why I didn’t go the beer fest with you.”

Let me end this article by saying that I don’t regret going to either event, doing both in the same day can be taxing, especially when you get to my age. Next year I hope the Pub Crawl falls on a day when there is no nearby beer fest. But if it does it could be another long day.

I hope this little story is an entertaining Thanksgiving Eve respite. Enjoy your holiday and drinks some beers. I will write again after the weekend is over.


Homecoming at Gainesville House of Beer, (Don’t forget the Hop Top, BrassTap, Winghouse, Daylight Donuts and the Blue Gill), Come Join the Tradition!

Parade Prep 02

Our little group of Beer Bacchanalians has started a tradition to coincide with the Annual Gator Homecoming Parade. Actually, the Maestro started it a couple of years ago. Last year he and I rekindled it and did so again this year. I don’t know how often something needs to be repeated before you can officially call it a tradition but we’re going to go with three and call this official. (If someone out there disagrees with that, it’s my blog… Get your own!!)

Now the Homecoming Parade in Gainesville is not a new tradition. It has gone on for many years and will continue to do so. And many people have been coming to the parade for years; some even bring their folding chairs to the exact same spot and have been doing so for so long the other folks around them all expect to see each other annually. I have been in the parade myself more than a few times with a float that my employer used to sponsor (Rowdy got me into to working on those). So I have been tied to the parade tradition on and off for over 10 years now.


For the last few years (at least) the Blarneyman and his Blushing Bride have made it a point to visit Gainesville during Homecoming to see both the parade and the game on the next day. This year was no exception and we decided (those of us who could) to meet up the night before the parade start celebrating early. So the Maestro suggested meeting at the Hop Top (see last blog) which isn’t far from his home.


I arrived first and decided to order one I hadn’t had before. It came from Terrapin Brewing and was the Vapricot, a very smooth tasting Double IPA with nice apricot notes. Not long after that the Maestro arrived and we were both conversing with Tyler, the barman at Hop Top. Not too long after that the Deck-orator arrived and we pretty much had the bar to ourselves though on a Thursday I can see how that would happen, especially since it is still a fairly new establishment.

After a bit I was ready for a second and ordered the Sam Adams Octoberfest since I like Octoberfest beers and they still had it one tap. It wasn’t too long after that beer arrived that the Blarneyman and his Blushing Bride arrived and the Philosophying began in earnest. We all began catching up with each and discussing those of our friends who couldn’t make it out that night and how they were doing.


After a while I felt another brew was in order so I ordered an old standby from Swamp Head brewery, Wild Night. I was trying to stick to the lighter craft beers so I could hang out longer as I would need to. We continued on with Philosophying and eventually decided to move on. The Deck-Orator was heading home and the rest of us decided to drive over to the Maestro’s house and see if his wife, the Muse, was going to join us for dinner.

Muse wasn’t home yet so we were waiting for a bit to see if she showed and had a beverage while we waited. After a bit she joined us and we decided to head over to Winghouse for some grub. I had kind of influenced that decision because I had told the Maestro earlier on that I figured I would head over there for dinner as he, Blarneyman and Blushing Bride were tentatively going to watch Gator Basketball Exhibition game. I thought that while they were doing that I would get some wings, then walk on over to BrassTap where they were featuring 16 different taps of Stouts, in honor of International Stout Day, and wait for them to join me after the game. Instead, we all went to Winghouse for an evening meal. The Maestro, Blarneyman and I each decided on Swamp Head’s Stumpknocker to accompany our meals, though we all had different items off of the menu.


When our meal was finished we decided to walk on over from the Winghouse to BrassTap, where we could partake of the afore mentioned Stouts and also participate in trivia night. They were pretty packed but we were able to snag a table as someone was leaving. One of the bartenders walked over to the table and took our order and in honor of International Stout Day I ordered a Wake-n-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout. The flavor was definitely coffee based and I was quite pleased with it.

image image

We sat around for a bit and listened to the last two trivia questions (By the way – the answer to the last movie sound bite was “Speed, Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels); and Philosophied some more. We also discussed plans for the next day’s parade. After that round of beers we all decided to call it an evening and parted ways until the morning.

The next morning I woke up with the sunrise (thanks to my dog Tucker) and began getting ready for the day. A slice of toast and a couple of cups of coffee is a little spare for my breakfast but I knew the rest of the day would probably be laden with calories. And I was providing some of those calories myself.

About 9:30 that morning I headed away from the house toward downtown Gainesville. Coming into town on University Avenue, I noticed traffic was heavier than usual, but that was not unexpected as I figured a lot of folks would be coming in to claim their spots for watching the parade. When I got to the intersection of University and Main, I turned north and headed to a little known shop across from the Publix Plaza on Main Street, called Daylight Donuts.


If you have never sampled any of the pastries from Daylight Donuts, then I feel sorry for your palate and your belly, as they are probably the best I have had in quite a long time. The donuts, the cinnamon rolls, the breakfast pastries and especially the apple fritters are all exceptionally good. You owe to yourself to stop by this little shop with a lot of flavor when you get the chance.

I figured since Gainesville House of Beer was accommodating enough to open up for us early, the least I could do was bring some donuts for the staff and the other patrons to share. So I picked a dozen donuts for my friends and another dozen donuts and a box of apple fritters for whomever else was going to be there. Then I headed off to HOB.

I got to HOB about 5 minutes after 10 and saw that they already had a couple other patrons there. I greeted Greg, the barman on duty that morning, and placed the donuts on the counter and explained what they were for. He smiled and agreed with me about the quality of the donuts that Daylight produces. I took a couple of fritters and added them to my box for my friends and went out to the patio and staked out some seats for the parade.


Then I went back inside and ordered as close as I could find to a breakfast stout, which was Duck Rabbit Brewery’s Milk Stout, and in case you wondered, it is a really good Stout. Not long after that the Maestro and the Blarneyman showed up and the earnest Philosphying commenced.

Over the next couple of hours we sat and discussed various things and greeted passersby on the street, a few other folks joined us on the patio. After a bit the other members of our party began strolling in. Muse, Rowdy, Blushing Bride and a few others joined us after the finished the Gallop (a charity walk). Deck-Orator showed up but the Chemist was not with her as he was working. The parade usually starts around Noon down by the College in front of the Stadium on University Avenue, but by the time it gets to HOB, which is at the tail end of the route its usually about 45 minutes later.


So the next couple of hours was spent watching and cheering the different parade entrants, and sampling beers and donuts. The Doctor was on call and working but was able to drop by and say hi to everyone though he didn’t partake in the beers. Some of the excerpts are pictured below.


And speaking of cheering, no one was quite as upbeat and vocal of their admiration for the parade participants as was Blushing Bride. So much so that from now on when she is mentioned in this blog she will be known as the Cheerleader.

After the parade was over we all went our ways but some of us decided to get together for dinner that night. After a few back and forth calls throughout the day we ended getting reservations for dinner at the Blue Gill, a newer restaurant on SW 13th Street not far from Shands. I had heard good things about it but hadn’t been there before.

They have a very nice atmosphere there and a wide ranging menu. They have daily specials and regularly featured food items on their menu. Since I hadn’t been there before I thought I would start with one of their staples and see how well they do that before I venture into their specials. I ordered their Brisket plate which came accompanied with steamed vegetables and garlic potatoes, all covered with a creamy poblano cheese sauce. I also ordered the Caesar salad for an appetizer and their Moonlight Lemonade for a beverage, all of which were very tasty.


All in all the day was well spent with friends, a tradition well worth repeating next year with the same folks and with new ones as well. If you’re interested then mark your calendar and make sure to show up at HOB the morning of the parade for a donut and a beer.